Recently I saw an infographic on LinkedIn that compared Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers, and Millennials in the workforce. As you might expect, there were pluses and minuses to each generation. When it comes to technology, for example, Baby Boomers are less savvy and adaptable than Gen X’ers or Millennials, but as employees they are hard-working. Gen X’ers are strong team players, but they lack executive presence. So far so good with the infographic, but what seemed odd to me was that it depicted Millennials—those born between 1980 and 1995—as “lazy, unproductive, and self-obsessed.” Now, I don’t know if the infographic relied on actual data, or if it was based on stereotypes, but in our work, we have concluded that Millennials can be an enormous asset in the workplace.
Below are some Millennial traits that greatly benefit sales organizations.
While Gen X’ers were raised on cable TV and Pacman, Millennials grew up with the internet, mobile devices, and coding. In recent years, a slew of software, apps, and plugins have caused revolutionary changes in how business is done in the sales world. Buyers do much of their research online, and the first point of contact is often through various online channels. Having Millennials on the team is invaluable for sales organizations focused on engaging with prospects and customers in new ways.
They’re Data Driven
Millennials get data. They like data. They understand it. Because they’re a techy generation, data is part of their day-to-day lives; many of them defer to hard data over hunches and instinct.
Millennials may be paying off loads of student-loan debt, but they are the best-educated generation in history. The fact that approximately 61% of working-age Millennials have attended college presents employers with a talent pool better prepared to enter the workforce.
It’s second nature to Millennials to be entrepreneurial in their approach—meaning, they’re solution-oriented, creative, and hungry for success.
Their Numbers Are Growing
Not only is the Millennial generation set to outstrip Baby Boomers in sheer numbers in the workplace, but the buyer demographic is also starting to skew Millennial—before long Millennials will dominate that group as well. When both sides of the sales equation—buyer and seller—are Millennials, you’ve got a common generational ground. That is, Millennial sales reps will better relate to and understand Millennial buyers’ needs.
As a group, Millennials almost overwhelmingly believe that organizations should uphold high standards when it comes to things like resource scarcity, climate, and income equality. Ultimately, this is a good thing: As the Millennial workforce grows, so will their influence—companies will need to adhere to a strong code of ethics, which ultimately will have a positive impact on society as a whole.
Given all those positives, we’ll sell you on Millennials as a value add any day.